Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Review - - How to Best a Marquess

How to Best a Marquess
by Janna MacGregor
The Widow Rules - Book 3
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: April 25, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Beth Howell needs to find her dowry, post haste. After her good-for-nothing first husband married her—and two other women, unbeknownst to them all—she’s left financially ruined and relegated to living with her brother, who cares more for his horses than he does his blood relatives. If Beth fails to acquire her funds, her brother will force her to marry someone fifty years her senior and missing half his teeth. She’d prefer to avoid that dreadful fate. But her now-deceased husband, Meri, absconded with her money mere days after their illegitimate marriage. To find it, Beth will have to leave town and retrace Meri’s steps if she’s to take her future into her own hands.

Julian Raleah, Marquess of Grayson, cares not a whit for social norms and generally growls at anyone in his path. Grayson has had a heart of stone ever since his engagement to Beth Howell went down in flames—long before she married that cad, Meri, and sealed her own fate for good. But now she’s on his doorstep, asking for use of his carriage and accompaniment on the hunt to find her lost dowry. Surely Grayson cannot go on the road with the woman who has occupied his thoughts for the past decade. Yet, knowing she needs him, how can he resist helping her this one last time? And maybe that’s just enough time to change the ending to their over-too-soon love story.

PJ's Thoughts:

How to Best a Marquess brings to a conclusion MacGregor's trilogy about three women who, following his death, discover they were all married to the same man. Of course, only one of those marriages was legal. I've enjoyed getting to know these women and following each of their journeys to love. 

This final book is a second-chance, road romance between third wife, Beth and the man who captured, then broke, her young heart years earlier, before her disastrous non-marriage to Meri. I love a second-chance romance trope, especially in a case like Beth and Julian where the earlier breakup was engineered by a third party and both Julian and Beth were left heartbroken. I was looking forward to these two finding their way back to one another as they traipsed across the countryside retracing the steps of Beth's late "husband" in an attempt to discover what happened to her dowry. Some of their experiences were humorous, and some poignant, while others presented complications and a bit of danger. All of them kept me curious as to what would happen next. 

The evolution of the romantic relationship between Beth and Julian was a slow, steamy burn that took a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. My heart ached for the sheer yearning Julian felt for his Beth, a woman who had held his heart for so long. I was cheering him on from the start. Beth is a complicated swirl of hot and cold, acting much like a cornered porcupine - and many would say with good reason. She's blunt, opinionated, and has a boatload of built-up anger and bitterness to process before she reaches a point where she's able to accept that she deserves the love she craves. She definitely has the more complex growth arc. 

Two secondary characters were a highlight for me, threatening to steal every scene they were in: Cillian, Julian's less-than-proper Irish butler and the outrageous Duke of Pelham, who I was delighted to read will be featured in MacGregor's next series. I'm looking forward to it. 


  1. I've always enjoyed her stories - thanks.

  2. I enjoyed this book too. Thanks for your thoughtful review. And I hope there is a series with the Duke of Pelham, but even better would be a book about Cillian. He was a charmer. Ms MacGregor always writes good books with lovely characters.